51st: The State of Our Union

PM Netanyahu addressed the fawning U.S. Congress this morning (May 24):"Making his second appearance before a joint meeting of Congress, Mr. Netanyahu entered to prolonged applause, accompanied by a hefty delegation of supportive senators and representatives. And practically every paragraph he spoke was met with more applause."The Times's account includes this line: "I am willing to make painful compromises to achieve this historic peace, he said, adding that it would not be easy, because in a genuine peace, we will be required to give up parts of the ancestral Jewish homeland.Ancestral? If that's the standard, what about the Canannites, Phoenicians, Edomites, etc?UPDATE: Better than the Onion: Flash! Israel declines annexation of the United States."In an impassioned speech today to the western (trans-Atlantic) branch of the Knesset, Prime Minister Natanyahu warmly accepted the 36 standing ovations of the US Congress, but stated firmly that in spite of Mormon claims to the early settlement of North "America" by the lost tribes of Israel and recent archaeology that the LDS church cites in support of that "fact," Israel could not in conscience accept the offer to merge the United States with Israel under the Israeli Basic Law. Such a merger, he said would be traumatic for those "Americans" who could not claim Israeli citizenship under the Israeli "Law of the Return." Bravo Pat Lang!Haaretz on Netanyahu's speech to U.S. Congress: "The prime minister will return home from the United States without major developments to show for himself. He is leading Israel and the Palestinians into a new round of violence, along with Israel's isolation and deep disagreement with the American administration. The time has come for the large numbers of those in Israel who seek peace to be heard. Israel deserves a different leader."M.J. Rosenberg: "Congress to Palestinians: Drop Dead." "If anyone had any doubt about whether the Palestinians would declare a state in September, they can't have them now." And much, much more from a supporter of Israel.Here's Ethan Bronner's report (May 25) on Israeli reaction: "JERUSALEM Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel returned from Washington on Wednesday to a nearly unanimous assessment among Israelis that despite his forceful defense of Israels security interests, hopes were dashed that his visit might advance Palesinian peace negotiations."Andrew Sullivan has a cri de coeur on our subject.From a friend: "Bibi and the Yo-Yos" (referring to our Congressional representatives) by Uri Avnery, Israeli commentator and peace maker.

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages.

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